Maori Television fraudster John Davy has a point.

Why was former Immigration Service head Mary Anne Thompson given a non-custodial sentence for false credentials when Davy served three months in prison for the same offence?

Thompson was fined $10,000 and ordered to do 100 hours of community work for falsely claiming a doctorate from the London School of Economics.

Her offence came eight years after Davy's sentence, designed, said Judge Phil Moran, "to send a message to others who might be tempted to do the same".

The message was apparently lost on Judge Bruce Davidson, who sentenced Thompson in March. Her career had benefited from her claim for much longer than the three months Davy was with Maori Television.

Thompson claimed a PhD when applying for positions in the Maori Affairs Ministry in 1989 and the Prime Minister's Department in 1998.

Yet Davy was sentenced as a "conman" while Thompson was told her offence was out of character and that she had more to offer the community.

Thompson, in fact, had resigned from Immigration after helping members of her family to gain residency. A State Services Commission inquiry found she had failed to properly manage conflicts of interest.

Davy did no harm after dishonestly getting his job. This country is well rid of him, but Thompson's sentence renders his judicial treatment here unfair.